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  Joy Blooms in Lubbock


 Lubbock became home in the Spring of 2011.   Moved from hardiness zone 5  to zone 7
Increased the growing seasons by 3 months.  Boy have the rules changed!

Last Updated on:  Tuesday May 24, 2016 06:41 AM

Gardening in Lubbock    Month-by-Month   Out Door Projects     It's for the Birds    Gardening Lessons from Daddy       
        Compost It!     Gardening Tips /Design     Veggies Anyone?    Gardening Links       Seed/Bulb Resources      My Garden Photo Albums

Tips for the Gardener
Let's save money this gardening season and make our gardens more productive.
There are certainly many ways a gardener can save money and still have a beautiful garden.  
List below are some things I have done over the years.  Please e-Mail me your ideas.

Make those Cut Flowers Last:  My gardening philosophy has never been "Look, but don't touch."  I grow an abundance of flowers just so I can cut them and bring them inside.  Here's a trick I found for keeping them looking their best longer.
  • Cut flowers either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. In the late afternoon, the stems and leaves have the most sugar in them and this keeps them fresh longer.
  • I dissolve a baby aspirin in warm water and add it to the vase water.
  • Change the water every other day and sip a bit of the stem.

Create instant compost - no self-respecting gardener is without one.
Making your own compost saves money and is better for your plants - nothing beats a home-cooked meal, right? You make with what is discarded from your garden and kitchen.  Composting can be done with elaborate bins or a simple pile.  Either way the compost piles is nature's gift.  Add it to your planting area about 2-3 weeks prior to planting.   This gives it time to work.

Gardener are filled with hope of what's to come - so buy small plants - The big plant cost more and eventually your small one will be big.  So save some buck and buy small.
Experiment with Mother Nature at your own risk.   Occasionally I found that I was able to grow plants that were not recommend for my hardiness zone or conditions.  For the most part, don't waste you time or your money or the space.
Don't buy plants at all - save your own - I collect seed every year from my plants and those in the park.  In some areas of my garden, I let the seeds fall where they may and then I have wonderful surprises next year. (If if don't like the surprise, I dig 'em up and transplant) 

During the growing season I spend time in my garden cutting off spent flowers (deadheading).  Deadheading prevents the plants "going to seed' which causes the plant to stop producing luscious blooms.  Around August, I stop this practice and let the plants made seeds so that I can plant them next year. 

  • I have had the best luck with marigolds & zinnias.  The trick is to let them turn brown and dry out.   Just before they crack open to release their seeds, I pluck them and put them in a brown lunch paper bag for safe keeping until next year.
  • I have had success in cutting the stem with seed head, not fully dried.  I generally bring them in a lay them out on newsprint.  They remain undisturbed on the corner of by 8-foot craft table.  Once complete dried out, I put the seeds in a brown paper bag.
  • Because I take so many pictures of my garden, I staple a photo of the Flower on the closed brown paper bag. 
  • I put all the paper bags with seeds in the extra large plastic jar.  Place the bag inside a large glass jar to prevent rodents from raiding your garden before it's even planted.  Store the jar in a cool, dark place until you're ready to plant them for next year's garden.
Make compost tea  - I've watched Paul James, the gardening guy, make it.  It's simple, soak a shovel or two of compost or aged manure (if there is a stable close by) in a bucket of water for a few days.  When the solution turns  murky it is ready for you can use this compost-water on your plants. 
Converse water, add compost.  Adding organic material will drastically increase the soil's ability to store water.  Here is Lubbock that is extremely important that the soil is amended.
More newspaper uses - You'll have less weeds to pull if you put multiply layer of newspaper paper around your tomato plants or you ground vines like zucchini.   Try putting mulch over other areas.
Earthworms are your friends.  Use natural and organic fertilizers and soil amendments.  This will keep earthworms happy.  Earthworms works as hard in the garden as you do.  All that tunneling creates air space in the soil.  They leave behind worm castings (worm dodo). That's a great fertilizer.
Think up. Grow the vines of your melons, squash, or cucumbers up on a vertical trellis. I often let pole bean grow up on my corn stalks.
Cut back on mulch - Several layers of newspaper over weedy spots will kill the weeds.  You can add some mulch on top of the newspapers. If you are going to buy mulch look for a nursery that will deliver it in bulk.  Buying in bulk is much cheaper than buying one bag at a time. Bet there is someone close by who'd split the cost with you.
Create a habitat for beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs. Plants daisies, asters or perhaps a fruit tree around the veggie garden to attract pollinators.
Extend the Life of your Tools:  A gardener's work is not over until the tools a cleaned and put away for the winter.  Taking care of your tools before winter will make for a happier spring.
  • Start with a medium-sized (10-qt) galvanized bucket; the cheaper the better
  • Add sand and some cheap motor oil.  Add oil until you can see a color change, but the texture is still sandy.
  • Put them away for next year
  • Plunge your gardening tools into the bucket until they are clean and shinny.
  • Clean your gardening gloves, removing any caked on dirt.
  • Store them in a plastic "Ziploc" baggie; this keeps them safe from bugs or spiders seeking a new home.


Wait for the Seed Catalogs: After the first frost and all the gardening chores are done, I anxiously wait for the arrival of seed and bulb catalogs.  It is such a joy to page through the colorful pictures and plan next year's garden.   I cut out the pictures of the blooms I like and rearrange them on a poster board to get an idea of what to plant and where to plant them.   Then when next year come, I toss out the plans and let creativity flow willy-nilly.
Nature's Bug Repellant. Smelly plants like garlic, onions, chives and chrysanthemums will help insects.  Plant them close by so that you veggies won't become lunch for an pest.
Beware of Toxic Plants. Some species will kill crops that are planted nearby. This is called allelopathy. For instance, the black walnut tree is known to be toxic to tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, blueberries, and more.
Start your seeds indoors.  Peas do exceptional well.   Seeds are a lot cheaper than buying transplants.
Put 'em in a box.  Containers gardening is a great solution if you lack space.   I often grow lettuce in containers sitting on the patio.
It's for you not them.  To maximize your eating pleasure, pick your crops before that get too ripe.  Over-ripe veggies are an invitation to birds and pests.

I'm always looking to save bucks.  Please e-Mail me your ideas.

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